We need to look into Fire Assessments but first we need to get rid of our current Chief and his non-existent roster of people

At the June 4th Workshop, Stacy recalled the 2018 Budget Workshop as do we.  Then Mayor Spencer Lofton had his writing board to list certain items of possible revenue,  Again as we the Griffins discussed the fact that the recent fires we have had in White Springs have been attributed to the Vacant lots and vacant houses and buildings which do not generate taxes. Again we stated that the Town needs to charge a Fire Assessment Fee or as some call it a Fire Department Service Charge. This purpose would not only assist the fire department but pay for such services in the event there is a fire on these vacant properties and lots.  It also makes those who own these properties, either fix them, demolish them or sell them outright.
I have included what the City of Milton Florida does as far as paying 17% of their Firefighting bill but I believe the Tier 1 for undeveloped properties should be $100 per lot not $40.

 

Stacy Tebo gave some story that before we could move forward on such a service charge we would have to get a legal description of our Town and to advertise that such a fee will be charged by State Statute.  The latter part is correct but I am undertain whether the legal description of the Town has anything to do with it.  Nevertheless Mayor Miller advised her to go ahead with the investigation of what we need to do and bring it forward to the council.

 

 There are 477 parcels of land in White Springs which would generate $47,700 if each would be charged an assessment of $100.00 each.  The alternative is to increase the millage rate by .003 per $1,000 of property values.  Based upon $15,272,047.59 in approximate property values this would generate $45,816.   But since many of the homes in White Springs do not have values much in excess of the homested exemption, I am uncertain it is fair to the people who pay the majority of the taxes.  It is more fair to charge a set amount for each lot so that everyone has to pay that amount similar to our 10% utility charge to generate funds.
As an example, a home valuation with homestead deduction is $103,000.  If the millage rate of .003 per $1000 is taken against the value it would develop an additional tax of $309.00 per year.  A home valued at $30,000 after homestead deductions would pay an additional $90.00 per year in Ad valorem taxes. A home valued at $5,000 after homestead deduction would pay $15.00.
Obviously it is more reasonable and fair to do the special assessment for each parcel of land.  The reason is that everyone is being charged for such protection rather than just the higher valued property owners but this will be up to the White Springs Council.

 

Title XII
MUNICIPALITIES
Chapter 166 
MUNICIPALITIES
View Entire Chapter
166.201 Taxes and charges.—A municipality may raise, by taxation and licenses authorized by the constitution or general law, or by user charges or fees authorized by ordinance, amounts of money which are necessary for the conduct of municipal government and may enforce their receipt and collection in the manner prescribed by ordinance not inconsistent with law.
Title XIV

TAXATION AND FINANCE

Chapter 192 
TAXATION: GENERAL PROVISION

 

(e) The right to be sent notice by first-class mail of a non-ad valorem assessment hearing at least 20 days before the hearing with pertinent information, including the total amount to be levied against each parcel. All affected property owners have the right to appear at the hearing and to file written objections with the local governing board (see s. 197.3632(4)(b) and (c) and (10)(b)2.b.).

 

The Manner in which Milton FL handled their fees were as follows:

The fee is assessed through the use of a two tier method. 

Tier I, every parcel within the City limit, pays an equitable portion of the Fire Department’s budget which has been determined to accurately reflect the costs associated with keeping a full time, professional staff in constant readiness. This is a set fee. Every parcel pays the same amount.  The Tier I charge per undeveloped property was $40 per year
Tier II, every parcel that has been improved upon, pays an equitable portion of the Fire Department’s budget which has been accurately determined to reflect the costs associated with actual provision of service.  This fee differs per parcel and reflects the replacement value of the improvements on a parcel as compared to the replacement value of all improvements within the City.  The Tier II charges in 2016 were $0.08 per $1000 of Value.

How Does the Fire Services Assessment Benefit Me?

Revenue from Fire Assessments will only be used for the provision of fire protection services. This includes improvements to your local fire station’s equipment, apparatus and training levels, thereby increasing their ability to serve your needs. This also makes your property eligible for lower fire insurance rates through improved Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings.

Future Fire Services Assessment funds will be utilized to help improve staffing at the fire station, replace old equipment, and to better serve you. Milton citizens, visitors and businesses receive the benefits of full service Fire Rescue capabilities including: Medical First Response, Extrication, Hazardous Materials Operations, Disaster Response Mitigation, Fire Prevention, Public Education and Fire Suppression, regardless of where you live or operate your business. 

The Fire Services Assessments can also help to provide for accountability in tracking revenue and expenditures for fire service within the community.

The City of Milton will be using the tax bill collection method; Florida law requires that ad valorem taxes and accompanying fire rescue assessments be paid at the same time. If you do not pay your taxes and the Fire Services Assessment, the tax collector may issue a tax certificate against your property resulting in a loss of title. Fees not paid this year will be included in next year’s fees which will appear on your tax bill.

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